Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stewardship of Leader Gifts

UV 1198/10,000 Stewardship of Leader Gifts
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12 v 8

The grace of God is manifold and He distributes gifts liberally to His chosen ones in order that these gifts be exercised for the benefit of all, to build relationships of people with God, to transform character, conduct and communication. Many think that leadership is an art that can be learnt. This uni-verse states that leadership or authority to lead is itself a spiritual gift or calling from God to be exercised with more than just due diligence but extraordinary diligence. According to our calling, we are given appropriate gifts that we should discover, own, use, develop, manage and give glory to God. We are to be good stewards of the gifts given to us.

Leaders or rulers or administrators are to rule or act with diligence. Diligence implies that one needs to study every aspect of the assigned work rigourously. We need to analyse, understand and apply ourselves to the task at hand. We ought not to conform to the patterns of leadership in the world but be transformed by renewing our minds with continual study of the patterns of leadership contained in the Word. We are called to be first transformed before we can ourselves be agents of transformation.

In the world many people exhort in order to extort. But the Lord expects godly leaders to exhort people to encourage them to grow to the very stature of Christ. In the world, many people give in order to build their reputation or with some other motive. But the Lord wants us to give with liberality and without publicity. We are also called to show mercy to others for wilful acts or accidental errors even as the Lord is merciful to us. It also implies that we show compassion to those who are hurting in their lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 29, 2014

Casting Our Burdens

UV 1197/10,000 Casting Our Burdens

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55 v 22

We should not allow our hearts and minds to be vexed or troubled. The illustration is given that a person can hold a glass of water for a few minutes but when he holds it continually for several hours it becomes a huge burden. Similarly, the mind and our lives get burdened if we are thinking or are upset about something over a long period of time. The size of the burden does not count. It could be something tiny that is irking us or it could be something too big and intimidating for us to handle. We should not hesitate to take it to the Lord as soon as possible with prayer, thanksgiving and confidence. He will then restore the peace of God that passes all rational understanding. He will strengthen us from within so that we can endure it. He will give us wisdom and understanding on how best to resolve it. He will encourage us so that we no longer think of it as a burden. He will enable us to recognize the purpose or reason why the particular trouble arose in our lives.

IF we do not unload our difficulties and problems on the Lord, we will be weighed down and we will become depressed and ineffective which is the goal of the enemy of our souls. When we unburden ourselves on the Lord, He will give us the grace to carry on. He is competent to handle any of the most complex or difficult issues we bring to Him. If we do not take it to Him, it would show we do not have faith that He listens to us or that we do not think that He is capable of solving it. There are certain burdens we cannot share even with the best of our friends or even our spouse. But we can freely share it with the Lord. The moment we pray about our burdens we will feel a lightening of our load, a freedom in the spirit, a new sense of hope, courage and optimism. When we pray for each other’ s problems, we are obeying the command of the Lord to carry one another’s burdens.

The Lord does not want the believers to be moved with grief or to be weighed down with worry and anxiety. He wants our hearts and minds to be focussed on Him and the Kingdom of God. He knows that we cannot worship Him with a free mind and spirit if we are burdened. He wants our hearts and minds to be anchored in Him even in the midst of a storm. The words “ cast down” implies to act suddenly and forcefully. The best time to cast it down is at the earliest point in time. The Lord does not want us to loose quality time. Someone might think that if the Lord is omniscient, He knows our challenges and problems and hence, there is no need to take it to the Lord in prayer. But the Lord wants us to take the initiative and manifest our faith in Him in specifically casting down every burden before Him every day of our lives. Once we leave it at His feet, He will either show us a way out of our predicament or He will miraculously resolve it or He will give us the grace to persevere and endure it. The Lord wants to show us He is real and He is involved in our daily struggles, that He is our sustainer, keeper, friend and guide and this is the reason He invites us to daily cast our burdens on Him. Each burden we cast at His feet becomes a testimony, an opportunity to enhance our faith and to praise the Lord for the deliverance He gives us.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Passing on the Baton

UV 1196/10,000 Passing on the Baton

Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

Joel 1 v 3

As parents it is our duty to tell our children the wonderful acts of power, grace and mercy the Lord has done in our lives as it is theirs to tell their children. We are to share it not only with our own biological offspring but with all the young who we come in contact with in the course of our lives. The purpose for telling the next generation is so that they too set their hope on the Lord, not forget the works of God and keep His commandments that they too should know the Lord and be blessed by Him.

We are to diligently teach the children, talk of it while we are sitting down and lying down and when we rise again. It should be a constant refrain in our lives so that they are trained in righteousness. It should not breed a religious fervour or an attitude of self righteousness in them. It should teach them to walk in humility and faith before the Lord all the days of their lives. As it is written in scripture, “Teach a child the way she should go and she will not forget it all her life.” We are also to share our own unique testimonies of how we came to know and love the Lord and our various struggles and experiences as well as victories in the Lord.

Even if a person learns the Ten Commandments thoroughly and keeps it in letter and spirit, it will preserve him or her from great troubles: it will keep him from lying and deception, from covetousness and cheating, from violence and oppression, from adultery and its consequences. The essence of all the laws of all nations is contained therein. If a child is taught to read and apply the sayings in the book of Proverbs, it will teach her how to behave, how to relate to people, how to avoid arguments, how to succeed, how to communicate. The book of Ecclesiastes teaches a person the vanity of life and to remember the Lord in everything one does from the days of one’s youth. The book of Psalms teaches a person how to be close and personal with the Lord God, how to talk to Him when things are looking good and when they are not, how to worship Him in one’s heart and with one’s lips. Teaching the next generation the scriptures is the best and only way of passing on our spiritual inheritance and divine wisdom.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marks of Kingdom Citizenship

UV 1195/10,000 Marks of Kingdom Citizenship
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart

Psalm 15 v 2

When we are in a personal relationship with the Lord God, we need to walk uprightly. Every step we take should be upright. We should be people of integrity or oneness with ourselves and with God. We should be known as people who do only works of righteousness and who speak the truth from our hearts. We are then qualified to live with God in His tabernacle and in His kingdom. Though we attain unto salvation not by our own merit or by our works or deeds or qualities but only by grace, we should grow towards grace and bear the fruit of grace.

A person who walks uprightly hates the gain of oppression or exploitation. He or she hates the idea of even holding or touching any illegal gratification. He or she hates to even hear the news of violence and bloodshed. He or she hates to even look upon evil. Such a person will not lie or deceive anyone. Such a person is godly and God Himself will undertake to wipe his or her tears, to turn sorrows into joys and preserve him or her for eternal life and eternal joy. Such a person will dwell in the tabernacle of God. He will eventually receive peace, honour and glory.

To dwell on the holy hill of God or Zion or to dwell in the tabernacle of God is the greatest of blessings. We have absolute security and perfect peace. We have the joy of the presence of the Lord. The Lord will fight for us and both provide and defend us while we are still here on earth. We only need to hold on to His promises and we will obtain the blessings and answers promised therein. The Word becomes our shield and buckler, both our weapon of offence and defence in the battles of life.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 26, 2014

The House Built by the Lord

UV 1194/10,000 The House Built by the Lord

And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.

I Chronicles 17 v 10

This uni-verse is an amazing promise of the Lord God to David that he would bless him and his posterity. He would subdue all his enemies. He would build a house for him. The Lord blesses us not only in our lifetime but He blesses our posterity, far beyond our generation or the next. He makes our mortal foes footstools on which we can rise like an opposing wind causes a kite to rise. He subdues them often not with power but by His spirit.

The house referred to is not one of brick and mortar but it is a spiritual house. Each of us is a spiritual house the Lord is building over our lifetime. He dwells in us and with us. As He inhabits us, He transforms our habits. We seek to dwell in His Kingdom and manifest His righteousness by doing His will. Like a house is built by digging deep and laying a strong foundation, the Lord will dig deep down in our hearts and minds and spirits. He lays a rock foundation of faith. On that foundation, He raises up the superstructure of walls, doors and windows. When the land is dug up to lay a foundation it looks ugly but when the building is completed, it looks beautiful. So also He makes our lives beautiful in the end. Just as the different rooms of a house have a different purpose, He has a different purpose for different talents, spiritual gifts and qualities He has built into us. As the Lord has built this house, our life’s labour will not be in vain but we will fulfil the purpose of our lives- the God-ordained purpose.

The Lord desired to rule over Israel directly and He did so through godly leadership. He annointed Moses as a leader of Israel to liberate Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Thereafter, He anointed Joshua as his successor. After Israel settled down in the promised land, He appointed several people like Gideon, Samson and Deborah as judges. But the people pleaded that a king be chosen like other nations of the contemporary world. God relented and led the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul and declare him king. Saul’ s heart became proud and rebellious and he turned away from depending on the Lord for guidance. He consulted a medium and he was insecure. He was afflicted by an evil spirit. The lesson is that we cannot depend on any earthly leader but we need to depend on God Himself as our leader. An earthly leader is purblind and cannot perceive his own shortcomings. His judgement is prone to error. He relies on physical power or his command over men and resources. He depends on the arm of flesh. When our dependence on God is total, He will build us brick by brick, thought by thought, word by word and deed by deed. He does not reveal the entire blueprint of the house He is building for us ahead of time but gives us a glimpse here, a glimpse there. Over time we will begin to see the big picture. The pattern emerges.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Vitality of Agreement

UV 1193/10,000 The Vitality Of Agreement
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Amos 3 v 3
This uni-verse puts it most succinctly that unless two people are in agreement with each other about the basics, they cannot have a healthy relationship. This applies not only to the relationship between a husband and wife in a marital relationship but between partners in a business as also between the Lord and a human being. God appeared to Abraham and told him, “ I am the Almighty God. Walk before me and be thou perfect.” Abraham needed to agree that God is Almighty, that he needed to revere and obey Him in walking before God and try to be perfect. Again about Noah it is written that he “ was just and perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” It implied that Noah was intimate with God. Noah refused to be tempted by the pleasures and luxuries of Sodom and Gomorrah. Being in agreement is both a sign and a spur to mutual love. It implies shutting the door on that which displeases the significant other in a relationship. It is also a passage to salvation. It is compared to walking as any relationship is not an overnight wonder but a steady progression to a sharing of values, goals, efforts, suffering, pain, pleasure, experiences and views.

We need to walk in step with God. Our lives need to be in sync with the Lord. It means that our thoughts, words and deeds should be so designed as to please the Lord. Similarly, in a family the husband and wife should be in agreement with each other about the basics or it would be impossible for them to live together in harmony. Beliefs are the deeply held values of life. People in any kind of relationship need to be in agreement about their basic values and priorities in life. Scripture says that a man who believes the Lord if he is married to a woman who does not believe , the two are unequally yoked and that they would be like oxen who though tied to the same yoke will pull in different directions.

When two people agree together and with the Lord, then there is great freedom, blessing and harmony in that relationship. They will progress rapidly in achieving their common goals. It does not mean that they are a carbon copy of each other or that there will never be a difference of opinion between them but that they are agreed on the major issues and the basics. When we live according to the patterns of scripture and not the patterns of the world, we are in agreement with the Lord. It is not just an intellectual agreement but an agreement in the spirit. We experience the intimacy of a deep and personal commitment and relationship with Almighty God. Every step of our way we will enjoy His love, grace and mercy.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Secret of Longevity, the Mysteries of Eternity

UV 1193/10,000 The Secret of Longevity, the Mysteries of Eternity
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Psalm 91 v 16

When we walk in humility, faith and the fear of the Lord, the Word promises us length of days, long life, peace and eternal life as a gift we receive in the right hand and both riches and honour in the left hand. Traditionally, in virtually all cultures the left hand signifies something less significant. It implies that worldly success or riches and honour are a secondary blessing. This uni-verse contains the promise of longevity. The words “ will I satisfy him” implies that the time will come when we will say that we have seen and experienced enough of the blessings of the Lord on the earth and we are ready to depart. Both my parents eventually said in their early eighties that they were satisfied with the days the Lord had given them and were ready to depart.

While there are several cases of people we know who loved the Lord departing early according to the sovereign will of God, the general pattern is that a person who knows and serves the Lord runs the full course. Abraham went to the grave full of years after seeing the beginning of God’s promise being fulfilled in his heir Isaac. He did not see the promised land coming into the possession of the twelve tribes of Israel. He did not see the fulfilment of the promise that many nations will rise from him. But what He had seen and experienced of God’s faithfulness and goodness in the long years of his earthly sojourn was enough to convince him that God is able and faithful to do that which He had spoken and promised him. Similarly, Job went to the grave like a shock of corn in due season after experiencing the blessing of the Lord for his faithfulness, the test of his patience and faith, the period of tribulation and finally, his restoration to a state of blessedness. Each of us also go through different such seasons in our lives. In each season, we understand and experience a different aspect of the character and leading of God even as our own character is made to conform to a greater degree the image of God.

After our earthly sojourn, He shows us the full extent of our salvation. A crown of righteousness awaits the faithful, symbolising that due rewards await us at the end of a life of faith. Many of the mysteries of God that puzzled us on earth and many of the unanswered questions will be resolved forever. Now we see God as in a mirror - the Word. But then we will perceive Him face to face. Our knowledge and our transformation will be complete. Meanwhile, on this planet, we see the image or reflection of God even as God seeks to see His reflection in us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Manifestations of the Name

UV 1191/10,000 Manifestations of the Name
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
John 17 v 6
Jesus manifested the name of God unto all men. God had told Moses that His Name is Aahveh or “ I AM WHO I AM.” “I Am” incidentally is the shortest sentence in the English language. It means God declared Himself as the self-existent, uncreated Being, the source of all life. It also means that God defines and describes Himself not by what He does or did but by who He is: His character and attributes. The “am” can be expanded as “Almighty” or it could stand for Almighty, all powerful, all knowing and merciful. Jesus further manifested or demonstrated that the Father is the Almighty, Merciful and Loving God and that He himself constituted the way to the Father, the truth and the source of eternal life. He who receives and keeps the word that Jesus represented and spoke knew the Father as his own, understood the truth and had access to eternal and abundant life here and now. We too need to define ourselves and our life goals as a manifestation or reflection of the character and attributes of the Father and of His Son Jesus.

Jesus manifested all the dimensions of God: He demonstrated His power over sin and temptation, His power over demons and diseases, His power over the fury of nature, His power over death. He demonstrated the mercy of God in forgiving the corrupt tax collector, the prostitute, the thief. He demonstrated the grace of God by changing the lives of His disciples and giving them a world-changing vision, mission and passion. He demonstrated the wisdom of God as He never judged by outward appearance but saw the hearts of people. In this uni-verse, He acknowledges that they belonged to God but the Father gave them to Jesus. This implies that all humanity belongs to the Father who created them. The Father chooses whom to give to the Son to show them the way, the truth and the life.
Jesus commended His disciples to the Father saying, “ They have kept Thy word.” It meant that they listened carefully to the word and teachings of Jesus and remembered it often. They not only listened and remembered it, they faithfully lived according to His word and obeyed it. We too need to listen, remember often and live faithfully according to His Word to manifest the name of God and to demonstrate His attributes of love, mercy and power in our lives. He will give us wise counsel and help to live worthy of the Father, to excel in every way and bring glory to His Name.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Door of Opportunity

UV 1190/10,000 The Door of Opportunity
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Revelation 3 v 8
The Lord knows our ways, our words, our works and our thoughts. He knows our problems, our challenges and our circumstances as no one else does. As we trust Him, He will open a way for us even in the toughest of situations. The door He opens no man can shut even as the door He closes no man can open. The door is a metaphor for an opportunity to testify about G0d’s goodness. It could also be an opportunity for growth and learning. It could be a new experience or opening in the area of our work or profession. It could be a new opportunity for ministry and service. Other people motivated by the enemy of our souls can place obstacles in our path of growth and progress but nothing can deter, distract or disturb us as it is the Lord’s will that we avail the opportunity.

Sometimes, a test or a trial can itself be the opportunity that the Lord intends for us. From our limited perspective it might be a great burden or tribulation but from the Lord’s eternal perspective, it might be a great opportunity to expand His influence through our testimonies. The Lord knows the limits of our strength and endurance and will not test us beyond those limits. He measures our strength in terms of the extent of our faith. He tests us to see if we value His Word, whether we store it in our hearts, honour it in our spirits and obey it in our daily lives. He knows whether we honour and love His name. Our faith will enable us to pray until something God-intended happens, proclaim until something God-intended happens, practice or obey until something G0d-intended happens. We should not deny that we belong to Him. We can also deny Him if we disbelieve His promises. We deny Him when we do not follow Him and emulate Christ in our ways, words, works and thoughts.
It is a true saying that when we honour God, He honours us. He honours us by bringing amazing opportunities our way. He gives us breakthroughs in our lives. He turns our limitations, weaknesses or curses into blessings and opportunities for growth and contribution. He increases our inner strength and gives us the wisdom to recognize the door of opportunity. He gives us the grace to take hold of the door and open it fully. In fact, every promise of God is a door of opportunity to experience the Lord’s blessings in different aspects of our lives. In the course of our lives, the Lord leads us through a series of open doors of different kinds. We might see with our natural eyes only the negatives or the obstacles in our path but when our spiritual eyes are opened we see the opportunities.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Joy of His Presence

UV 1189/10,000 The Joy Of His Presence
Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
Psalm 21 v 6

There are internal blessings and external blessings. There are earthly blessings and eternal blessings. There are material blessings and spiritual blessings. The blessings that matter most are not the material or financial or physical blessings but the blessings that last forever- the spiritual and eternal blessings that linger on with us forever beyond this lifetime. But the key or our focus is not to be the blessings but the presence of the Lord. When the presence of the Lord fills us from the inside and clothes us on the outside, covers us from above and surrounds us on all sides, we will be filled with joy. This joy comes from a sense of belonging to God. It will be reflected on the gladness on our faces and it will radiate all around. Blessings are not something we can work for or achieve but it is something that is granted by God. Its source is spiritual and eternal. Blessings are given by the Lord out of the abundance of His grace and mercy. When a person enters the presence of a king and pleases him with his past record, his words or his manners, the king reciprocates by giving him a reward in terms of honour or a purse. Similarly, when we are in the presence of the Lord, He blesses us. The difference is that we get an audience of a king or ruler for a brief spell of time but the Lord’s presence is with us all the time. What pleases the Lord is our faith and our constant communication with Him.
Through our faith in Jesus we receive the promise of the Spirit. We receive every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places through our faith in Jesus. Our bodies and minds become the veritable temple or habitation of God and thereby we are not only blessed but we can bless others who come our way. The ability to bless and curse is normally only the prerogative of the Lord of heaven and of earth. But He has given us the promise of Abraham, “ Whom you bless will be blessed and whom you curse will be cursed.” This is the power and privilege of kings and priests that has been freely given to every believer but we need to use the power to curse with great restraint for the Lord Jesus asks us to bless and not curse our enemies.

The word “ surely” at the start of this uni-verse implies that we must be assured or certain without an iota of doubt that the Lord has granted us every blessing we need on earth and in heaven. It is this confidence and hope that produces in us a great optimism and joy. Our mind will not be tossed about by our circumstances like a wave that is tossed about on the surface of the sea by the passing winds. Our spirits will be anchored in the Lord. We will be wrapped in the love of God and be filled with peace, joy and love. Blessings are the means through which the Lord fills our cup with overflowing joy.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Delight in the Fountain of Life and Light

UV 1188/10,000 Delight in the Fountain of Life and Light

For with Thee is the fountain of life;
In Thy light shall we see light.
Psalm 36 v 9
The Lord is the unceasing fountain of life. He is the source of life and therefore, He alone is the sustainer of our lives. The light that we have in us is darkness, implying that our own understanding, intelligence and knowledge will lead us into darkness. All the great lights of the world are also shades of darkness. But, the light that God gives us in Jesus, His Word is the true light, the everlasting light. He gives us the light of salvation that gets brighter as our days advance. The light of His Word transforms our limited and darkened understanding. The knowledge of the glory of God is our light and the knowledge of the Son Jesus brings us the light of salvation. We also obtain light for our everyday decisions and activities from the Word. Without knowing the Saviour, the light itself will seem as darkness. But once we believe His Word and receive Him, the Holy Spirit becomes the source of our light. We derive our strength by delighting in the Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit. When His light shines upon us, we are able to walk through times of darkness.

The Word that we internalise in our lives becomes rivers and streams of life-giving water. It will satisfy not only our thirst but the thirst for eternal life of all who hear us and believe it. Many people forsake the fountain of life and try to gather water in broken vessels that can hold no water. But, the Holy Spirit causes rivers of life-giving water to flow like an unceasing spring from our hearts. Our desire to know the secrets of life, the meaning, the source of power, the questions of our minds about who is God, about our own identity, purpose and source of power will be fully answered. Our minds will be renewed, our bodies and spirits will be refreshed. We will be able to recognize the wonders of God’s grace, love and mercy that He gives us freely like life, light, water and air. Just as we have been given these most valuable aspects of life freely, we too need to share it freely with others.

Lapping up the Word of God with delight and enthusiasm like Gideon’s chosen army of 300 soldiers is what makes us strong and victorious. Since the fountain of life is with the Lord, all our need is met in Him. Since we do not live life according to our lights but in accordance with the light of the knowledge and revelation of God, we will never be deceived. We will have clarity in all the complex issues of life. We will gain wisdom or the ability to apply knowledge in every domain of life. Just as a fountain is delightful to see and enjoy, we need to enjoy the experiences and testimonies of the Lord in our lives. It is a fountain that rises from our hearts but rises up to the very throne room of heaven in praise, thanksgiving and adoration.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Divine But Practical

UV 1187/10,000 Divine But Practical
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

Jeremiah 23 v 29

The Word of God is like a fire. It starts as a small spark but can provide light and warmth all our lives. It purifies us and removes the impurities or dross from our thoughts and our faith. It shows us the direction and purpose of our whole lives while at the same time, giving us guidance regarding the next small steps that we need to take in that direction. It provides both strategic direction as well as tactical direction. It gives us a map for our whole life as well as for each day of our lives.

A man was asked in a vision by the Lord to push a big rock in front of his cabin. He started pushing the rock day and night for many years but the rock did not budge an inch. When he went back to the Lord and expressed his disappointment and frustration, the Lord told him, “ I only asked you to push the rock and did not expect you to move it. See how strong your body has become in the process: how your arms and back muscles, sinews and tendons have developed?” Similarly, we are to “Push” with the help of the Word that is both a kindled fire in our hearts and minds as well as a hammer to break down our rough edges and angularities, to shape us, to develop us. The word push has three implications in this context: pray until something God-intended happens, proclaim until something God-intended happens and practice until something God-intended happens.

The Word provides the tools to build up our faith and to break down our false confidence in the things of this world. A hammer has two purposes to drive in a point as well as to pull out something that is deeply ingrained like a nail in our human nature. The Word by reiterating the kind of attributes of character God expects us to have, the kind of attitudes that we need to develop drives these points into us while it also helps to extract the pride, lust and deception that can so easily ensnare us in this world. The Word is eternal, versatile, creative of good, destructive of evil, dynamic, practical and universally applicable.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sharing in the Glory of God

UV 1186/10,000 Sharing in the Glory of God

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 3 v 23

This is the uni-verse that convicted me of my need for salvation. All are guilty before God. No one is an exception. There is no one who is absolutely sinless among those who walked on earth except Jesus. But now that we have received salvation by faith in the one sinless and holy One who shed His blood for our sins, we no longer fall short of the glory of God. We are declared worthy to enter the kingdom of God where we will receive and experience the fullness of His glory. As it is, we are now part of His kingdom on earth. We no longer live by the law but under grace. We are no longer miserable creatures but glorious creatures of God. We constitute the crown of His creation. Though all have sinned, some have been restored by grace to the glory of God.

As scripture puts it, “ Christ in us is the hope of glory.” The hope of glory gives us a great and inextinguishable source of joy. Glory refers to the greatness of God, the might and power of God, the perfection of Jesus, the ineffable beauty of the presence and the attributes or the presence of God. Once we receive Jesus into our hearts by faith, the presence of God clothes us. In other words, we are clothed in the glory of God.

The glory of God manifests itself in different ways in our lives here and now: the glory of His character, the glory of His power, the glory of His wisdom, the glory of His goodness, the glory of His grace, the glory of His provision, His protection and promotion. We experience His abundance, His supernatural protection, His timely provision, His wise counsel, leadership and guidance on a day-to-day basis. His glory brings us both supernatural wisdom and supernatural favour. Is it not an amazing discovery that each of us is no longer “come short of the glory of God” ? As children of the Heavenly Father by adoption, we share in the glory of our Father for that is our inheritance.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Price and Prize of Redemption

UV 1185/10,000 The Price and Prize of Redemption

For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

Isaiah 52 v 3

We have sold ourselves for nothing, for no gain by yielding to sin. Deception implies falling or choosing that which appears to be good and lasting but is essentially evil and meant for our harm and downfall. We have been deceived into doing that which we ourselves do not want to do in our inner heart. Adam, the first father sold himself and with him all humanity to the captivity of sin without gaining anything in return. He had been promised that he would be as knowledgeable and wise as God but he only lost his innocence and his spiritual freedom. He obeyed the law of sin and departed from the law of God working in the inner man. He had broken faith with God, His Creator. All subsequent evils in history are only permutations and combinations of that sin.

But God in His mercy decided to redeem us and bring us back into relationship with Him as sons and daughters of faith, of obedience to the law of God. He redeemed us not with silver or gold but by paying the price Himself through part of His deity, His Son Jesus. Scripture says that the price of a man’s life is so high that it cannot be paid for with money or what money can buy. He restored our capacity to hear, listen, understand and obey the inner law of righteousness, of keeping faith with God, our Redeemer.

Since it is God who has redeemed us in our sin and bondage and set us free, we need to give priority to God and His law at work in us. We need to die to our own nature that can be easily deceived and to trust God and His everlasting promises to us. Money symbolised by silver or gold or all that we considered precious before should be a secondary factor in our lives. We must make our money or our resources and all of our faculties to serve our Redeemer. By studying, understanding and applying the law of God in our inner selves, we will not be subject to further deception. We will be able to recognize the true worth of things and not judge by the power of enticing words or outward appearance of people or things. Once we are redeemed by the Lord we are expected to be more wise and discerning and not naïve and gullible. We are expected to reflect more of the qualities of the Redeemer in our daily lives.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vessels of Grace and Mercy

UV 1184/10,000
Vessels of Grace and Mercy
I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

Psalm 31 v 12

Each of us are like a broken vessel before the Lord. But He sees our brokenness and our repentance and chose us to be vessels of mercy. He makes us whole once again. He completes us and perfects us. A sign of our brokenness is that we do not speak with pride, arrogance or contempt. The Lord hears our cry and rushes to our aid and help. He preserves us from accusing tongues. He will not let our enemies to triumph over us. He will not let us be put to shame. He will deliver us. He knows the anguish of our souls and assuages us. He will make our lives even more beautiful and impactful than before. We will fulfil the purpose for which we were designed.

Once the Lord touches our lives and re-builds us,we are like Gideon’s torches of fire hidden in pots of clay. We are passionate about the Lord, His Word and the good news of His mercy to all who are broken and repent. We become not just the recipients of His grace and mercy but containers, conveyors and carriers of His message of love to the rest of mankind. The world may ignore us but in the eyes of the Lord we remain a beautiful vessel, a noble vessel, a precious vessel, a rare vessel to be guarded and kept for occasions of honour. He fills us with His glorious riches of grace and mercy. He has many pleasant surprises in store for us. He knows that there are many who would like to break us to pieces and shards but He safeguards us.

Even one’s own mother can forget a person but the Lord will never forget His own. We read in the news so many instances of new born babies being abandoned by their mother. But the Lord will never abandon us. His face shines on us in the sense that He smiles with love and kindness as He looks upon us. He sets our feet in a good and spacious place. Our role as vessels of mercy is to always empty ourselves of our own self-will, our pride, our agenda, our vain thoughts and fears and to keep ourselves clean on the inside and the outside.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 12, 2014

Marvelling at God's Goodness

UV 1183/10,000 Marvelling at God’s Goodness

This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mark 12 v 11
Whatever amazing things that have happened in our lives, we need to attribute it to the Lord saying, “ This is the Lord’s doing..” We need to affirm every positive benefit in our lives as being authored by the Lord. Nothing happens by chance or luck. We do not believe in the uncertainty of good fortune or luck or fate. Nothing is an accident but it is planned and caused by the Lord in His goodness. We need to make a mental list of all the benefits or blessings of our lives so far. We should not just numerically count our blessings but evaluate the extent and depth of God ‘s goodness, mercy, grace and love revealed in each.

Having affirmed that these blessings emanate from the hand of the Lord, we need to praise Him saying, “ It is marvellous in our eyes.” We ought not to take it for granted but be glad and grateful to the Lord. It should evoke a sense of marvel or wonder in our hearts and minds about the goodness and grace of the Lord. We should not cease to praise the Lord for the wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon us. It will create a sense of perpetual joy, peace and strength in us even as it will delight the heart of the Lord. We will be protected from the evil one’s strategies of spreading cynicism or disbelief and pessimism.

Our minds and mouths should be consistent. In one breath, we should not curse, murmur or complain and with the next say, “ Praise the Lord.” As St James wrote, “ Bitter and sweet water will not flow from the same spring.” We need to constantly recognize that the Lord is the capstone, the cornerstone, the keystone of our lives from which comes all our blessings. We have to build on and around this capstone the edifice of our lives with an attitude of gratitude mingled with child-like faith and wonder.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Personal Relationship with God

UV 1182/10,000 A Personal Relationship with God

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine

Isaiah 43 v 1

The Lord has not only created us and formed us in our mothers’ wombs, He continues to be committed to our formation and transformation right through life. Even before we knew Him, He saw us, knew us and even called us by our names. He is very personal in His relationship with each of us. We too need to make a personal commitment to Him in order to reciprocate. The uni-verse calls us “ Jacob” as God recognizes our innate deceitfulness, our desire to get ahead by hook or by crook like Jacob, our fear and insecurity after our sin is discovered. The Lord is realistic. He sees our hubris but He knows that over a period of life experiences and grooming, we can be purified, cleansed and perfected.

He has been with us in all our struggles from even before we uttered the first word or took the first stumbling step. Our guilt and fear might drive us far from Him. But He calls us to reassuringly to come to Him. We need not fear His awesome power or His glory. We are created for His glory, to magnify His name, to praise Him for His attributes. When we yield to this purpose, our struggle ends and we can rest in His everlasting arms of love. He is Almighty and absolutely holy and righteous but He almost hides His might and holiness so that we can relate to Him as one person with another. He humbles and gentles Himself.

For a time our souls have been mortgaged to the enemy of our souls but the Lord redeems us by paying the price with His most precious Son Jesus. We were once a people who were lost, enslaved, defeated, taken captive and accursed but now He has found us, freed us, made us victorious, broken our chains and blessed us. He gives us a new name as a sign of our re-birth. He declares us as His own. We have nothing to fear now, neither depth nor height, death or defeat, shame or pain, disease or loss. He has taken away our every limitation. Having been set free, everything we do, speak or think should bring glory , praise and thanksgiving to our Creator, Transformer and Redeemer. We can now sing and celebrate, “ My Beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” Our relationship with our Saviour is not marked by pride or resentment or bitterness. He owns us but does not possess us. He gives us complete and perfect freedom to choose. When we err or make mistakes, He does not hold it against us but forgives us freely. He never disowns, forgets or forsakes us. He affirms us as His own. He is patient and kind with us. He expects us to reflect these qualities in our relationships with others around us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spiritual Milk and Honey

UV 1181/10,000 Spiritual Milk and Honey
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Numbers 14 v 8

While ten of the twelve spies Moses and Aaron sent into Canaan to report back the strength and weakness of the people who inhabited the region brought back negative and dismal feedback, only Caleb and Joshua brought back a positive report. They too saw what the former saw- the people were strong and powerful in comparison with the Israelites who were travel-weary having travelled forty years through the desert to reach the promised land. Their cities were fortified with strong defences and thick walls. Their people were robust and strong. But these two alone believed not what their eyes saw but the words of the promise spoken from the mouth of God that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. They saw that these people having rebelled against God in different ways did not have the favour of God while the Israelites had that distinction of having the favour of God provided they did not turn their back on God in distrust and fear. These two equated disbelief in the promise of God with rebellion and faith in His Word they recognized rightly would bring delight to the heart of the Lord.

IF we are focussed on delighting the Lord, He will grant us our heart’s desire against all odds even the impossible. Caleb and Joshua exhorted the people who were asking to take them back to slavery in Egypt fearing defeat and death at the hands of the hostile people of the region, “ Do not fear and do not rebel against God.” Often when we focus on our circumstances and difficulties, we become filled with fear and our faith evaporates. At these times, we should just focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith and just trust the promise of God that He will be with us and give us victory. The fears will evaporate and we will be greatly strengthened.
Our fears divide our hearts and spirits and make it prone to rebel against God and to trust the enemy of our souls. It feeds our sense of insecurity and makes us make choices that are appalling and to behave in erratic ways. Caleb and Joshua were prepared to face the power of the enemy as they trusted God based on their prior experiences of deliverance from the powerful Pharaoh and his army. Testimony is truthful evidence of what God has done in our lives when we are facing real challenges and problems. The testimonies of God complete our faith in the Word or the valuable promise of God to sustain us in the land of the living, in the valley of the shadow of death, on the mountains and in the valleys or vicissitudes of our lives. Our spirits please God and our hearts are not divided when we do not entertain or give room to doubts, fears and pride or reliance on the natural. Once we pass these tests, the Lord will bring us into our version of “the land flowing with milk and honey.” On my fortieth birthday, I told myself and confessed to the Lord that for forty years I have been going in circles in the wilderness trusting in my own strength. From now on I am entering the land of promises and the source of my strength and well being will be the unique promises of God- the words that are sweeter and more nourishing than the most delicious honey and more precious than the purest gold. This is the reason I set a goal of meditating and analysing the 10,000 promises of God contained in His Word over the rest of my life. These uni-verses constitute the spiritual milk and honey of our souls and spirits. Our lives are not to be one of fight or flight but one of flow- free flow of God’s favour or His grace in our every situation.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Purpose, Extent and Remedy of Human Suffering

UV 1180/10,000 The Purpose, Extent and Remedy of Human Suffering

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I Peter 5 v 10

If the Earth was like paradise, nobody would be looking for God. If it were like hell, no one would be thinking of Him. So our good times and bad times, our upturns and downturns, our successes and failures, our blessings and troubles are necessary for us to understand what is perfection, salvation, love, grace, mercy and compassion. God’s grace protects us from what we deserve and grants us what we do not deserve. Suffering is necessary for us to understand the God of all grace. He gives us strength in our weak moments. When we are feeling low, He lifts us up. Grace in suffering prepares us for eternal glory. When we suffer, we yearn for something better, the glory of heaven. When we suffer, we get a revelation of God’s character, nature and power. It inspires hope and increases our faith and inner strength.

In His eternal realms, there are no sorrows or tears, no suffering, no cause for regret or pain. But the earth and the world around us has been designed not that it is an unmitigated vale of tears and misfortunes but each of us need to “suffer a while.” It will not last forever. There are times of suffering, whether short or long but it will not be beyond the point that we cannot endure it. However, great or long is our suffering, it is but momentary trouble in comparison with the “ weight of eternal glory” that is our inheritance through our faith in Jesus.
When we go through suffering with a Christ-like attitude of “not my will which is to end it here and now but His will prevail,” our faith and patience is perfected. The Lord will strengthen us or enable us to endure it such that people will be amazed at the grace we show under such pressure. When we go through suffering, we need to pray for more grace instead of asking the Lord to end it prematurely. The Lord needs to glory or delight in our character. Suffering is needed to etch the deep lines of our character. Who would have believed the gospel except Christ Himself suffered for all mankind?

The word “ perfect” in this context does not mean that we will be free from any fault or errors but that we will become mature like Christ in facing life and our difficulties and challenges in life. The Lord will establish or fulfill His purpose in allowing us to go through such suffering. He will also establish the work of our hands. He will chip off the angularities of our character so that we are more finished, groomed and rounded. He will eventually “settle” us or give us rest from our troubles and enable us to be secure in our relationship with Him, having a fuller knowledge of the God of grace and His ways.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Rising Glory

UV 1179/10,000 The Rising Glory

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Isaiah 60 v 1

The Lord desires that we are awake, aware and alert. We are called to arise or develop in every realm and domain and in every way. Just as a plant grows naturally attracted towards the sunlight and a plant that is hidden from the light bends its shoot to reach out from under the shelter towards the source of light, we too should grow towards the light of Jesus, the light of life, the sun that shines on humanity with glory, grace and healing in its wings.

How do we shine with light? First, we need to absorb the Word and be saturated in it for His Word is a “light unto my eyes and a lamp unto my feet.” It is both a direction finder to find the path of eternity as well as a lamp to guide us step by step in our daily walk. It combines a telescopic lens that gives us a vision of the distant future and beyond as well as microscopic lens that enables us to see the immediate, the invisible, aspects of the “here and now.” It also turns the incoherent and seemingly disconnected parts of our lives into a distinct kaleidoscopic vision- beautiful patterns will emerge that will shine for God. No longer do we have to search like pilgrims for the light or the glory of God. It has arrived. It has already happened. It is available and accessible. It is part of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Now, we have crossed over from death to eternal life, from shame to glory, from strife to peace, from frustration to fulfilment, from failure to success, from curses to blessings, from darkness of every kind to light.

Second, after we absorb the Word like a sponge, we neet to emit it like light or teach it or share it in appropriate contexts and ways with others whom God brings in our paths. By writing the uni-verse and sharing it, I am emitting the light of the Lord throughout the globe.

Third, in our areas of work, we need to excel in our conduct, speech, relationships and performance. By our good deeds and good words, people should thank and praise God for us. Fourth, we need to use the intellect,talents, opportunities, resources and network we have to try to lighten the load of others, try to solve problems facing a section of humanity, however large or small.

“The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” implies that the presence of God is with us in whatever we think, speak and do and we will find amazing results happening in the things we attempt or endeavour. Just as a star miraculously appeared right over the manger where Jesus was born, His glory will be visible over each of us. It is both evidence and enablement at work in our lives. Glory of God expresses itself in grace. There is a surprise element that God revels in for the way He works is unpredictable. Moses was never told ahead of time that God’s glory would part the Red Sea to enable the Israelites to cross to safety. The supernatural dimension will unfold before our very eyes. It will further redound to the praise and glory of God. Our lives are like mirrors that reflect the glory of God.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sowing the Wind, Reaping the Whirlwind

UV 1178/10,000 Sowing the Wind, Reaping the Whirlwind

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up
Hosea 8 v 7

The wind is symbolic in scripture for that which is vain, empty, unworthy, out of control, not substantial, sinful. Solomon spoke of life without a personal knowledge of God being just a chasing of the wind- an empty or vain pursuit. When we sow iniquity, we will reap vanity. We can sow iniquity by acts of commission as well as omission. We can commit to that which is evil or omit to do that which is good. When we pursue that which is not true or worthy of our attention and effort or when we fail to pursue that which is true and worthy, we are sowing the wind. We will reap the whirlwind at harvest time. The whirlwind is the symbol of massive destruction. Perhaps, the velocity of the whirlwind and the extent of destruction will be lower for acts of omission. But, there is no getting away for a jesting Pilate who omits to do that which he knows to be just.

We can sow the wind with a single thought or a word or an action or a habit or a decision. We can reap self-destruction in due time. Sowing the wind is easy and almost effortless. It is like an act of blowing through one’s mouth a thin stream of air. But reaping the whirlwind is the time when things are bizarrely out of control. We will wonder what is this force that is spinning us around. We will be desperate to get out of its deadly vortex. But we are staring into darkness and there is nothing or no one to reach out and help us. This is where the fear or personal reverence of an awesome, all knowing, all powerful God who guides and leads us is helpful and can prevent us from such acts of destruction. The law of sowing and reaping applies to nations as it does to individuals. In world history, we see nations believing in the Machiavellian man-made theory that what applies to ordinary people or individuals does not apply to the prince or the state have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. For example, Germany sowed the seed of racism and violence in the idea and regime of Nazism under Hitler, Italy sowed the seed of fascism and reaped the consequences, Japan sowed the seed of Japanese expansionism and reaped its consequences. The current crisis of ISIS is a seed that has grown due to the policy of removing one dictator like Saddam Hussein or Gadaffi and leading to thousands of extremists taking their place. The propping up of one Osama bin Laden against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan led to the 911 whirlwind and that in turn led to the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The capitalistic philosophy of accumulating as much profit and wealth as possible is the seed that is sown in many countries of the modern world from China to the USA. It finds expression in fuelling the arms race, violence and injustice globally and this leads up to the whirlwind of economic crisis like recession as well as conflicts and wars.

We need to yield to the Lord all of our lives and He will enable us to sow in the spirit and reap in the spirit righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost for that is what the Kingdom of God is about. We will sow wheat and reap wheat. Our stalks will grow to fullness of stature and the ears of corn representing our years on earth will be full and not empty or vain. Strangers or thieves and marauders will not threaten us with violence or take away our crop at harvest time. Gideon the farmer hid the barley from the marauding Midianites but when God came into his life in a big way He turned the tables and enabled Gideon to lead the Israelites and rout the Midianites. The Lord will enable us to sow the seed of victory and to reap the crop of victory, to sow the seed of success and to reap it manifold, to sow the seed of love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control and to reap the fruit forever. Planning, hard work and struggle is involved in our sowing, growing, waiting and reaping but the Lord underwrites the harvest and guarantees a great yield as we yield to Him. We will eat of the sweat of our brow and be satisfied.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Highways Being Built in Our Hearts

UV 1177/10,000 The Highways Being Built in Our Hearts
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Psalm 84 v 5

When we lean on our own strength, our own arm of flesh we are very limited regardless of how strong we are, how capable or talented or resourceful we are. When we depend on our own natural intellect and abilities, we are walking in our own ways. But when we lean on the arm of the Lord and are completely dependent on Him for strength we are blessed for there is no limitation on His strength and power. He is generous and will give us that which we need. He strengthen us not externally but from deep within.

The Psalmist says that when we depend on the Lord for strength, we are building highways to Zion or the capital of God where He resides. The highways to heaven begin in our tiny hearts: the highway of peace where we enjoy tranquillity along the way: The highway of love where we enjoy His love and kindness every day and every moment of our earthly journey. The highway of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, insight and uncommon sense is also initiated from within our hearts by which we will obtain guidance, leading and discernment in our decision making or choices. The highway of mercy and grace whereby we obtain forgiveness for our failings and the grace to overcome our failings and weaknesses.

We trust in the Lord with all our heart and we do not rely on our own limited understanding. He will direct our paths and transform it into highways and superhighways to Zion, the Kingdom of God. Every step, every move, every day and moment takes us closer. The journey itself is enjoyable. We are greatly blessed as we walk on the highways of the Lord. Each principle and precept contained in the Word becomes a pathway and road in our lives that leads up to the Kingdom. Each uni-verse is a signboard indicating God’s highway. Unlike the maddening rat race being run on our own strength in the competition with the rest of the world, the race we run on God’s ways are a race of grace, at our own pace, not rushed, to be completed in God’s own time with enough pauses for reflection, rest, enjoyment, renewal and rejuvenation.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peace Precedes and Supercedes Receiving

UV 1176/10,000 Peace Precedes and Supercedes Receiving

Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

I Samuel 1 v 17

Hannah was much troubled by her barrenness and her inability to have a child. She fasted and prayed and came to Eli the priest for prayer. Eli sent her away, saying, “ Go in peace..” Indeed, peace is not contingent on the circumstances we find ourselves in. Peace should precede answers to prayer and not be a result of our prayers being answered. Peace is more important than even the things we seek in prayer. The enemy of our souls is called a thief and robber by Jesus as he steals our peace.
Jesus also spoke these words, “ Go in peace..” to many distressed people who came to Him for healing. He told the woman who touched His clothes to receive a healing of a chronic problem of bleeding: “ Go in peace, your faith has made you whole.” Our lack of faith in God is what disturbs our peace. When we believe in Jesus, our peace is restored and we are made whole in spirit, mind and body. Circumstances cannot and should not alter the peace of God in us. When situations become turbulent, we can use the authority Jesus gives us and say as He said to the stormy winds and waves, “ Peace, be still.” Peace is the attribute by which we live and rule over every circumstance in our lives.

Peace is an absolute sense of assurance that God is in control of our lives and whatever happens, He will take care of us. The deficiencies of our lives are a secondary matter that will be addressed in due course, whether now or later or in His time. He will grant our petitions. We need not wrestle with Him or be restless and insecure but know that as we submit our problems and our requests to Him surrounded by the peace of His presence, filled with the joy of His intimacy and blessed by the assurance of His sufficiency, He will grant that which we lack, that which we need, that which we ask. Scripture is full of testimonies of people asking for what they need and receiving it in thankfulness. Abraham received an heir in the promised child, Isaac. Israel received the promised land. Solomon received the wisdom he asked for. People received the Messiah they prayed for. But peace precedes and supercedes both the asking and the receiving.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Reasoning, Salvation and Santification

UV 1175/10,000 Reason, Salvation and Sanctification
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool

Isaiah 1 v 18

The Lord despite His absolute standards of holiness, righteousness and integrity is willing to reason with us and make us understand the extent of His infinite holiness and the extent of the stains of our sinfulness. His standard of holiness is so absolute that He was willing to take upon Himself the responsibility, the guilt, the sinfulness, the penalty and the burdens of all mankind in the person of Jesus. He does not have a “serves you right” attitude that we have when we see people we know suffering some setback. His grace, mercy and love is as absolute as His holiness and justice. When we reason with God and see the evidence in history as well as in our personal experience this far, we will be able to recognize, understand and appreciate the attitude God has towards sinners. The Lord invites every human being to experience this eternal cleansing or washing. Faith and salvation come through a reasoning process and not by a blind leap or by inheritance or tradition or religious affiliation. The Lord is reasoning with mankind all through history, “ You cannot save yourself just as you cannot pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Come to me and I will show you the effective way for which there is no substitute.”

Our thoughts, words and deeds have dirtied our clothes and they are blood-stained or crimson in colour. We have done violence to ourselves and bled from a thousand self inflicted wounds. But when our clothes are washed in the blood of Jesus, they become white as snow. It is not a water-wash or a dry cleaning but a faith-wash. Where sin abounded formerly, now His grace will abound in our lives. This is the eternal “scarlet” cleansing that we receive when we believe in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, the Lamb provided by God. This comes by the confession of faith.

In addition to a once and for all “faith –wash” we need a daily cleansing or blotting out of our transgressions. Just as we use a blotter to absorb and wipe away any excess ink or fluid spilt on a surface, the Lord will blot out our “crimson” deeds. We obtain this cleansing by the confession of individual sins and shortcomings. Over a period of time, He will make us white as wool implying that our sanctification is not overnight but is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Greater than The Greatest Conqueror

UV 1174/10,000 Greater than the Greatest Conqueror
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Joshua 1 v 5

The Lord showed Himself strong on behalf of Moses and Israel against their powerful foes- the Egyptians. Even to this day, He similarly is with us as He was with Moses and He will be with us all the days of our lives till our last breath. As He gave directions, instructions and commandments to and through Moses, He will give us directions, instructions and commandments. As He used Moses as His chosen instrument, He will use us to liberate people from the yoke of spiritual slavery, fear of death and every other form of bondage. As Moses did miracles with his staff, He will enable us to do miracles among our staff or co-workers, teams and personnel. He will manifest Himself in unique ways that will have the jaws of our opponents dropping in awe.

He will be with us in the desert times of our lives as a sheltering, leading cloud by day and a guiding, protecting fire by night. He will lead us as He led Moses to mountain experiences of His presence, power and glory on Mount Sinai. The mighty weapons of modern Pharaohs and their army cannot singe a hair of ours or harm us in any way. He will provide for us on our journey manna and meat every day of our lives. He will do many signs and wonders in the course of our lives.

His presence in us and with us will distinguish us from the rest of mankind. He will be with us and in us consistently and faithfully. He will not fail us or leave us. The result is that no man or agent of the enemy of our souls can stand before us to challenge us, to intimidate us, to assault us. As long as we cling to Him, He is our strong defence, a bulwark against every evil force and design. Our faith and our dependence is not on our own limited capabilities, our own talents, our own resources but on the Lord God. Therefore, we need not be either afraid or disappointed but steeling ourselves always to be full of faith, courage, confidence and hope, knowing that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves and defends us. We are greater than Alexander the great for death slew him in his prime while our commander- in- chief, Jesus the Christ though He was similarly slain in His prime, rose again from the stony grave and is still alive in our midst, standing for us, leading the armies of heaven, fighting for us and interceding.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Vision, The Writing and the Runner

UV 1173/10,000 The Vision, the Writing and the Runner
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Habakuk 2 v 2
The only vision most people see today is television. But jokes apart, for a daily wage labourer, his vision is limited to his next meal and where it would come from. For a writer, his vision is limited to his next writing or next book. For an artist, his vision is limited to his next work of art. For a politician, his vision is limited to the next election. For a statesman, his vision is limited to the next generation or the next 25-30 years. But God sees all of the vastness of the universe, the entire time span of history and beyond far, far into eternity. Since we are short-sighted or myopic in our vision, He asks us to write the vision, to write faithfully what He asks us to write about what He is going to do. We are asked to write it down as we are likely to forget if we do not as our memory is short and our vision is myopic. When the vision is fulfilled it becomes testimony of hard evidence of what God has done or wrought in our lives. It becomes an occasion to praise and glorify the Lord as also a spur or trigger to the faith of others who read it. It will become an eye-opener to other people who can then read it and run with it. Our lives are symbolised by the first man to run the marathon, who ran with the message of victory back to his king and fell down dead after delivering the good news. But in our death and in successfully running and delivering the good news of Christ, we rise again to live forever.

When the Lord describes a vision to a man such that he write it, He does not cloak it in mystery and complexity but makes it plain and simple so that it convicts and energises the average person who reads it. Reading the Word causes us to run and not get tired, to be filled with hope, energy, strength and singlemindedness of purpose, to eventually rise on eagle wings of faith to be presented before His regal presence in His throne room in heaven. The eagle wings are a symbol of power and grace operating in our lives as we read, understand, assimilate and apply the Word in our lives. The vision is written down on stone tablets as a mark of permanence, a sacred and eternal text of covenant between God and man. When God wants to deliver a vision of warning or reproach, He choses to write it on a wall. When He wants to deliver a vision of instructions or command, He writes it on stone tablets but when He wishes to deliver a vision of hope and salvation, He writes it on our hearts and minds.

We run to and fro doing our daily chores and fulfilling our responsibilities. Our worldly and professional knowledge increases with experience and exposure. But wisdom to live will come only by reading and living by what the Lord has revealed unto us in plain terms in the Bible. When a man reads it, he has two options, either to run away from God and all that He is calling him to or he can submit and run in the tracks or paths God has clearly indicated to him in every aspect of life. When we believe His Word and trust in Him, we have only one option – to run or hasten towards him as a child would run to her father and safely, lovingly ensconce herself in His care and embrace on seeing him return home in the evenings. The practical application of the vision is that we too should make it a habit to write down our goals in different aspects of our lives. We should keep a record of their achievement as a source of encouragement, inspiration and testimony. What we write are our billets d’amour or love letters to the one great Beloved of our souls.

Prateep V Philip